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Popular ‘airplane headphones’ make a comeback: are they good enough? | Tech

The noise cancellation of previous Bose headphones was so good that almost every plane was packed with copies of the brand. Can the new variant compete with the increasingly better competition?




Read the full version of this review on Tweakers.

Bose has been very successful for years with its noise-canceling headphones. You can’t board a plane without seeing someone with a QuietComfort. However, that picture is changing. Not just because we fly less, but rather because other players have entered the same market. Sony in particular has become a major player, but other manufacturers now have noise-canceling headphones in the same price segment.

Bose tried to beat the competition with the more expensive Noise Canceling Headphones 700, but they weren’t quite as successful as the QuietComforts. That is why there is now the successor to the QC35II: the QuietComfort 45. We compared it with its competitor from Sony, but also with the AirPods Max from Apple.

Light and smooth

In terms of build quality, the QuietComfort 45 is about the same as its predecessor: again mainly plastic is used, with some metal parts at important points such as the bracket and the hinges. It makes it light and supple, yet very sturdy. The ear pads are made of the same synthetic leather and have the same thickness as before.

There are some subtle differences between the QC45 and its predecessor. The buttons on the outside of the two ear cups are almost the same, but slightly more rounded. It looks a bit nicer, but the old keys were a bit easier to operate by touch.


Same, somewhat dull audio quality

The drivers are unchanged, so the new QuietComfort sounds almost the same as its older brother. A small disappointment, because although the previous one sounded pretty good for its time, there are now better sounding alternatives on the market.

Listening to the QC45, we can only conclude that the model falls short, especially in the low. Especially the really deep basses lack power. At the same time, the highs lack some clarity and definition. It makes the QC45 sound a bit dull and even a bit shrill.

It is nice that the battery of the QC45 lasts for a long time: more than 23 hours if you have noise canceling on. That’s also longer than Sony’s WH-1000XM4 and AirPods Max.

Especially better noise canceling

The biggest advance is in noise canceling. The previous QuietComfort was leading at the time, but in recent years it turned out that Sony in particular scored better in that area. Bose is back on track with the QC45; the noise canceling can compete with that of the best competitors, including the WH-1000XM4 and AirPods Max.

Bose claims that the QC45 is better able to exclude sounds in the middle and high regiment and we can confirm that. In everyday practice, when used on the street, at home or at the office, you will notice the biggest difference there. Noise-cancelling headphones have traditionally been good at shutting out constant, low tones, but struggled with varying, higher-pitched sounds. It is precisely in this area that progress is noticeable with the QC45.

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Can’t be turned off

The noise canceling is not entirely without drawbacks, however. You cannot turn it off. With the previous one you can, but now you can only choose between Quiet and Aware. With the first option, noise canceling is fully enabled, the second means that the noise canceling remains on, but the headphones try to let in bystander voices.

It’s a feature long-established in the competition, but new to the QuietComfort range. It works well on its own, but not as well as the AirPods Max. Aware is therefore a nice addition, but we would have preferred an option to switch off both noise canceling and Aware, if only to save the battery.

In addition, the noise canceling of the QC45 cannot be adjusted: noise canceling is always set to one hundred percent. So there is certainly no option to have the strength automatically determined based on the amount of sound in the environment, as is possible with Sony.

Missing a lot in app

There is a lot missing from the accompanying app. For example, it has no equalizer, which means that you cannot change the sound of the headphones via the app. That is quite strange, because that is possible with the Bose NC700 and you can also set the amount of noise canceling there.

The QC45 also has no support for the assistants of Google and the like. You can use your phone’s built-in assistant by long-pressing the pause button, but there’s no built-in assistant that runs continuously in the background.

The only extra option that the app does offer is that you can set how much of your own voice you hear when you call in four steps.

Conclusion

The Bose QuietComfort 45 are decent headphones that are light and comfortable. It is unsurpassed in that area, especially on longer sessions. The sound is a bit flat, but lends itself to almost any kind of music and those same long sessions. In addition, the noise canceling is among the best that is currently available.

At the same time, it is also difficult to be positive about the QC45. It lacks quite a few options that the competition does have. The app is sparse, it supports few codecs, the noise canceling cannot be adjusted, it has no touch or other sensors and Multipoint does not work flawlessly.

It is mainly the price that plays tricks on the QuietComfort 45. If you don’t have headphones with noise canceling yet and you regularly make long flights, the QC45 is still a good choice.


Popular ‘airplane headphones’ make a comeback: are they good enough? | Tech
Source link Popular ‘airplane headphones’ make a comeback: are they good enough? | Tech

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